The Trees Will Remain

This is the title of my new book!

It’s a book of poetry about Lake County, about the vibrant and gritty and beautiful industry of life within these rolling green hills. It’s full of orchids and orange groves and lush heat and longing. It speaks to the underrepresented population of migrant workers whose lives parallel the residents in seasons of want and of plenty. The earth is fertile here, but it’s also rife with relics and ghosts. There’s a bomb shelter beneath the orchards, and hothouses of conjured exotics. There are coyotes and hurricanes and fruits that hang “like little taunts” at the memory of venturers who lost it all in the citrus industry. But there is also an unbroken spirit here; “I can almost touch the veins of her.” Connected beneath us all, there is the ancient aquifer, “a current braiding in the hollows.”

I’ve just signed a contract with Bell Ring Books, and I’m grateful for their passion for poetry, their absolute zeal to have it read and heard and spread wide across the horizon. Not only that, but they are creative and efficient, which means the book should be out by early fall.

As always, I’ll be posting details for future poetry events. Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake County Writes and Writes

There’s a new writing group in town.

We’re called First Friday. Coincidentally, that’s the same name as the first writing group I ever attended. We met monthly at Rollins College in Winter Park. Speaking of firsts, I remember how the words trembled on my paper from my own hands. I also remember meeting some great people there, feeling encouraged, and getting some darn good insights on my writing.

That being said, I hope you’ll join us! And if you dare, we’ll be having our first meeting at Serendipity Cafe, a coffee house in downtown Mount Dora, on August 2, 2019, at 6:00 P.M. I’d love to hear from you beforehand to know you’re coming. When you do, bring something you’ve written and prepare to unearth, to dig a little deeper.

And…as long as I’m plugging this new writing group, I want to be sure to include another that has been meeting at the WT Bland Library in Mount Dora every third Sunday at 2:00 P.M. They’re called the Bland Writers, and I’m sure they’re anything but. As always, if you’re interested, contact the library for more information.

Yes, there’s more. Starting on September 15th, 2019, again the WT Bland Library will be hosting a monthly poetry reading which will feature a poet and an open mic to follow. This venue will run every third Sunday from 3:45-6:00. If you’re interested in leading the read, you can contact Joseph Pascale at josephapascale@gmail.com.

Did I mention the Spoken Word poetry event at the Leesburg Library? Step up to the mic. Emerge. Reverberate. Resonate. Every first Thursday at 5:30 starting again in September.

The hills of Lake County are alive with the vibrant words of writers. Come and listen. Hope to see you when you do.

 

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There’s something about June

“Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing…For the seasons…are marked, not by calendar, but by fruits and flowers and birds.”  — Marjorie Kennan Rawlings

June, in some ways, is a new beginning. Not unlike this blog! Speaking as a teacher, it heralds in a season of rest and renewal. Early morning alarms and weekly schedules become a thing of the past…at least for a while, at least for me.

I love the winding down of June, the slowed rhythm around me. The smell of the earth after a rain. The broad lacy shadows of the oak trees in the moonlight. Jasmine scented nights that have given way to the season of magnolia, those heady, high branched blossoms that drop their petals, thin as eggshells on the ground. It’s the season of blackberries and mockingbird nests and thunderstorms and delicious novels with sand in their spines.

This poem, appropriately enough called “June,” was published in Sky Island Journal last summer. Wishing you some lush and languid June days and thanks for joining me on this journey!!

June

The word itself, a break point

on the skin of a peach: succulence,

a texture that still tastes green.

That musters bees. Rose & magnolia

sweetly shedding their hypnotics.

Words disappear suddenly from the

tip of your tongue. It’s the sun,

someone will tell you. Wear a hat.

But, it’s this stillness. This. Stillness,

an inward ripple going slag & sweet.

Blackberry. Whippoorwill. Sand

flanneling your heirlooms and you

don’t care. Ice, a dull chime in your

sweating glass. Fan blades tsk-tsking.

Something nectared’s on the trellis.

Even the shadows are lush. The heat,

a white static. Cicada? Leave the garden

hose on. Shutter the cumulus clouds

& dream: a woman riding next to you

in a convertible loosens the flowered

scarf knotted at her throat, and it flutters

away. The hair at the nape of her neck

is humid and baby fine. Let’s drive

to the sea, she says in a honeyed voice.

Catbird blue eggshell eyes.

Her smile, tipped open to the sun,

is a tender, unruly horizon.

–Laura Sobbott Ross